To date, few scholarly discussions on ethical implications of epigenetics and epigenomics technologies have focused on the current phase of research and development, in which researchers are confronted with real and practical ethical dilemmas. In this article, a responsible research and innovation approach, using interviews and an expert meeting, is applied to a case of epigenomic test development for cervical cancer screening. This article provides an overview of ethical issues presently facing epigenomics researchers and test developers, and discusses 3 sets of issues in depth: (1) informed consent; (2) communication with donors and/or research participants, and (3) privacy and publication of data and research results. Although these issues are familiar to research ethics, some aspects are new and most require reinterpretation in the context of epigenomics technologies. With this article, we aim to start a discussion of the practical ethical issues rising in research and development of epigenomic technologies and to offer guidance for researchers working in the field of epigenetic and epigenomic technology.

Epigenomic technologies, informed consent, privacy, research ethics, responsible research and innovation,
Epigenetics Insights
Department of Public Health

Bunnik, E.M, Timmers, M. (Marjolein), & Bolt, L.L.E. (2020). Ethical Issues in Research and Development of Epigenome-wide Technologies. Epigenetics Insights, 13. doi:10.1177/2516865720913253